Across China: Pet waiting lounge in China airport provides reassurance to owners

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SHENZHEN, May 15 (Xinhua) -- After spending 20 hours in the pet waiting lounge at Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport in south China's Guangdong Province due to a flight cancellation, Qiqi, a Husky, finally boarded a plane to Shijiazhuang City in the country's north over the weekend.

During the extended wait period, Qiqi was not only fed and taken for a stroll in a dedicated play area by the airport staff but also connected with its owner, surnamed Zhang, through video calls.

Thanks to this care, Qiqi remained calm throughout the delay, and the staff swiftly arranged for the dog to board the next available flight.

This pet care service was launched last week when Bao'an airport opened a waiting lounge exclusively for pets, the first of its kind in China. Since then, the lounge has served over 40 pets.

Pet ownership is steadily increasing in Shenzhen, especially among those born after 1980, with the city currently boasting over 500,000 pet cats and dogs, according to research by the Shenzhen-based think tank, China Development Institute, signifying that various pet-related needs have become more prominent.

At the Bao'an airport, pets were previously handled alongside other cargo in a large space before transportation. Though a pet waiting area was opened in 2018, it was still within a large cargo terminal, according to Liu Shaobin, an airport staffer.

The newly launched pet waiting lounge covers approximately 210 square meters and features soft lighting and eco-friendly materials. It is divided into separate areas for cats and dogs, each offering dedicated waiting spaces and pet entertainment areas.

Operated by a professional pet technology company, the lounge is staffed with skilled pet specialists and equipped with advanced facilities. A comprehensive monitoring system ensures 24-hour surveillance, location tracking, and alerts for temperature, humidity and PM2.5, among other elements.

In addition to specialized security clearance channels, regular patrols and on-demand feeding, the lounge also provides remote medical services.

Temporary foster care for pets stranded due to flight delays or cancellations, such as in the case of Qiqi, is offered without extra charges.

After an over two-hour flight, Qiqi safely arrived in Shijiazhuang and was picked up by the owner Zhang's family on the evening of May 11.

Expressing her gratitude for the seamless care and transportation of her beloved dog, Zhang explained that as she was traveling abroad, and she needed to send the dog back to her hometown to be looked after by her family for a while. "The pet waiting lounge made me feel reassured about Qiqi's travel." Enditem

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